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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 March 2007, 21:00 GMT
Newport County 0-1 The New Saints
The New Saints celebrate Steve Beck's winning goal
The New Saints celebrate Steve Beck's winning goal
The New Saints lifted the FAW Premier Cup for the first time in an absorbing final at Spytty Park on Wednesday.

Newport County, from Conference South, played their part on their home ground and should have led within 90 seconds when Craig Hughes missed from close in.

But Steve Beck, outstanding all night, gave Saints a sixth-minute lead with a cool left-foot finish into the net.

Despite plenty of goal-mouth incident that proved the only score as the Welsh Premier leaders held on to win.

Along with the trophy Saints also pick up 100,000 for their victory, while County have some consolation of the 50,000 awarded to the runners-up.

Newport should have been ahead within two minutes as a Jason Bowen run caused confusion in the visitors' ranks.

The Saints defenders left the ball to each other and it fell at the feet of Hughes six yards out, only for the striker to somehow blaze over the bar.

All Newport's early pressure was undone by a swift length-of-the-pitch counter-attack that saw Saints take a sixth-minute lead.

Beck chested down a raking diagonal pass before hitting a left-footed half-volley into the bottom corner of the net.

Veteran striker Dean Holdsworth, the former Wimbledon and Bolton player, nearly headed Newport level from a corner.

But Beck, so effective up the other end, fulfilled his defensive duties on the back post by hooking the ball off the line.

Hughes wasted another good chance to bring County level when played through, but he wanted too much time on the ball and was dispossessed.

Bowen also broke through on the right, played in by Nathan Davies, but Saints goalkeeper Gerard Doherty was smartly off his line to smother the danger.

Despite those chances it was the Welsh Premier side that looked the more dangerous and Beck flashed a shot just wide after being set up by strike partner Mike Wilde.

Newport were struggling to gain any foothold in midfield and all too often the players in gold invited a shot by failing to close down the Saints players.

John Leah nearly took full advantage before half-time as he strode forward from midfield, but Mark Ovendale produced a brilliant flying save to push his pile-driver around the post.

Wilde should have doubled Saints' lead 10 minutes into the second period when he exchanged passes with Beck to outpace Newport skipper John Brough, only to scuff wide of the right post.

Then Saints forward John Toner should have had a penalty soon after as he was elbowed off the ball.

But Toner's angry reaction, pushing his forehead into Ian Hillier's face, could easily have brought a red card if the County player had made more of the slight contact.

Newport continued to press for an equaliser and Holdsworth should have done better than spoon over the bar when the ball fell kindly in a goal-mouth scramble.

But Saints were always in wait on the counter and John Toner and Wilde, twice, both went close, although Ovendale had the danger covered each time.


Newport County: Ovendale, Jenkins, Searle, Davies, Brough (capt), Hillier, Bowen, Leek, Holdsworth, Hughes, Evans.
Subs: Griffin, Edwards, O'Sullivan, Prosser, Giles.

The New Saints: Doherty (capt), Baker, Courtney, Jackson, Holmes, Leah, Wilde, Toner, Beck, Wood.
Subs: R Williams, Hogan, Stones, Gonzalez, L Williams.



SEE ALSO
FAW Premier Cup 2006/7
13 Feb 07 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
24 Dec 06 |  Wales


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